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Friday November 20, 2009

Eight years on and woman can’t register marriage

GEORGE TOWN: Even though Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah, whose original name is S. Banggarma, has been married for eight years, she is still unable to register her marriage.

This is because she is listed as a Muslim while her husband is a Hindu.

The 27-year-old woman, who preferred to be known as Banggarma, said she has been practising Hinduism all this while although she was converted to Islam at the age of seven.

Banggarma said she and her three siblings were handed over to the Rumah Kanak Kanak Taman Bakti orphanage in Kepala Batas when she was about five by the Social Welfare Department after they were found wandering in the streets.

On Dec 28, 1989, she was converted to Islam before the Penang Kadi after she was taken to the kadi’s office by officers from the state Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim) and Majlis Agama Islam Pulau Pinang.

Banggarma said she had no clear memory of the incident until she was 18 when she wanted to get married.

“I ran away from the home with my friends when I was 16 and did not take any documents with me.

“So, when I wanted to get married at 18, I went back to the home to collect my documents. I was given the Muslim conversion certificate,” she said at a press conference called by Kedah PKR Youth deputy chief Gooi Hsiao Leung at his office here yesterday.

Her husband, S. Sockalingam, 31, a fisherman, said he had a shock when they went to the National Registration Department and found out that she is a Muslim.

“We couldn’t register our marriage after our temple wedding in Tanjung Piandang in March 2001 since she was a Muslim,” he said.

Banggarma said the column in her two children’s birth certificate under the father’s details stated “maklumat tidak diperolehi (information not available)”.

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